Every blogger knows just how difficult it is to build a successful blog. There are so many things that you have to learn about that most people don’t even consider. Things like:
Understanding email marketing
and that list goes on and on and on. You know the old joke:
How many hats does an entrepreneur where? ANSWER: All of them!
One thing that isn’t often talked about but is definitely a necessity is analytics. If you do affiliate marketing, sponsored posts or make money off of your site in any way you need to know the stats behind it.
Things like pageviews, unique visitors, bounce rates. Terms like this usually invoke either 1. Your eyes glaze over and you skim the rest of the article or 2. Confusion about what it all means.
Today, I’m going to show you two Google Analytic filters that every blogger should be using as well.
Filters are a way of weeding out the events that you don’t want in your final counts. The first of which is the IP filter. What does this mean? You need to be filtering out your own IP address so that you are not counted along with your other stats. Why you ask? Because without this particular filter you won’t get an accurate picture of how your site is doing.
So, together we’re going to set up an IP filter. It’s really simple so don’t panic!
The next filter we’re going to set up is to keep your analytics from being hijacked. In the video below I show you exactly how to set up both filters.
How can someone hijack your analytics? Well, there’s a little known way of finding out anyone’s GA code. It’s very simple.
Go to your website.
Right-click your mouse.
Choose “Page Source”.
Hit CTRL + F for the find command and type in GA.
Scroll down and you’ll see your own GA code.
There isn’t a way to hide them from this view so the only thing you can do is to add a filter that will keep your GA code safe from hijacking.
Go into your GA account, click on ADMIN>>Filters. Add a new filter and then choose “CREATE NEW FILTER” and give it a name that you will remember.
Scroll down and hit “CUSTOM” and then check the “Include” button. In the dropdown choose HOSTNAME and in the box below type in YOURDOMAINNAME.COM & click save! It’s that easy.
Need a little more help? Try this video I made to show you how to quickly filter out your IP address and including only your own hostname.
Have questions? Let me know in the comments below!
If summer’s self-care mood is “treat yourself,” then fall’s self-care mood is “let’s do the damn thing.” Enter: financial self-care. Because a) summer was expensive (lookin’ at you, Charleston vacation), b) September is Self-Care Month anyway and it’s better late than never (it’s a thing, I promise) and c) getting your money stuff in order feels A-Maz-ing.
So here’s your fall financial self-care checklist. Grab your calculator & not the one on your phone because it’s probably right next to the FB button. Nope, grab a real-life 1980’s style calculator! What? You don’t have one of those? #geeksneedlovetoo Grab a calendar, a notebook, and sharp pencil or whatever it is you use to “do the damn thing” and let’s get down to it!
1. Track down your most recent pay stubs
Start by getting an understanding of how much money you have coming in each month. Grab your paycheck stubs from the past month and give them a look.
First, calculate how much you’re making after taxes — aka your take-home pay. This may or may not be equal to the final amount of your check: If you have money withheld for 401(k) contributions, insurance premiums, or other employee benefits like that, then those will come into play later. For now, just look at your gross pay minus taxes. How much take-home pay do you earn in one month?
If you get paid irregularly, like if you rely on freelance income, then this might be a bit trickier. We recommend calculating your take-home pay from the last few months and then taking an average.
2. Get to know your current spending habits
Next, pull up your debit and credit card statements and look through your past few months of purchases. Categorize them into three buckets: needs (groceries, rent, etc), fun (eating out, buying things you wanted, etc), and “Future You” (saving, investing, and debt payments beyond the minimums).
This is where those paycheck withholdings we mentioned above come in. Any 401(k) contributions you’re making go in the “Future You” bucket, and insurance premiums go in the needs bucket. You can categorize any other withholdings however makes sense — for example, a public transit benefit might go in needs, and a gym membership might go in fun.
Finally, add them all up. How much are you spending on each bucket per month? There are no wrong answers — this exercise isn’t meant to make you feel guilty, it’s just to see where you’re starting from today.
3. Set a goal for your future spending habits
Now it’s time to make a plan. We like the 50/30/20 rule, which is a high-level framework for organizing your spending. It uses the same buckets we mentioned above. Traditionally, following the 50/30/20 rule means 50% of your take-home pay will go to needs, 30% will go to fun, and 20% will to Future You.
But those percentages might not be realistic for you — which is why step two on this list was so important. Based on your spending habits today, set yourself a realistic goal for tomorrow. Maybe it’s 70/20/10, or 60/20/20, or 80/15/5. It’s flexible.
Even if you can only put 1% to Future You, start there. Over time, you can work on trimming expenses or boosting your income so that you can increase that percentage over time.
4. Take the next step with your 401(k)
Two things, specifically. First, if your employer offers a 401(k) employer match but you aren’t taking full advantage of it, then sign up and start contributing enough to get the full match. That’s free money, y’all.
Second, if you have an old 401(k) or two (or however many) from a previous employer just chillin’ out there, think about rolling it over. You could roll it over into your new employer’s plan if they let you, or an IRA. Either way, it can be super helpful to get everything in one place. (PS: This isn’t as much of a process as it might seem. When you start a rollover with Ellevest, we’ll guide you through the steps.)
5. Prioritize your debt payments
Being in debt — credit cards, student loans, personal loans, etc — doesn’t feel good. But paying your debt off does. The fastest way to do it is to pay more than the minimum required payments if you can. That will also save you money because the longer you take to pay debt off, the more interest you’ll owe.
So if you have debt and can make extra payments, the next step is to figure out which debt you want to focus on first. There are two popular strategies: To start with the balance that has the highest interest rate, or to start with the balance that has the smallest outstanding balance. Here’s some more info on those two methods and how to put them into practice.
6. Set an emergency fund target
Financial emergencies are a fact of life. Cars need repairs. People (and pets) get sick. Phones and computers break. This is why building an emergency fund is a big part of getting your financial life in a stable place.
We typically recommend saving between three and six months’ worth of your take-home pay. (Here’s how to decide exactly how much is right for you.) That might sound like a lot, but it’s totally OK to start small and work your way up over time. But today, your goal is just to figure out how much you want to aim for. Maybe, if you don’t have high-interest debt, you even open an account and make your first deposit.
7. Start investing toward your goals
If you’ve finished the first six steps of this checklist — first of all, you’re crushing it. Keep the momentum going by starting to prioritize and invest toward your long-term money goals. Goals like ramping up your retirement contributions, or like buying a home or starting a business.
Financial self-care checklist complete. Now light an apple-scented candle, put some chili on the stove, and enjoy the fall vibes.
Are you ready to start investing in yourself? Start here!
“I’m excited to work with Ellevest to start conversations about women and money. If you become a client, I will be compensated.”
Investing consistently is the very best thing you can do for your future you. I get it the struggle is real! There are so many things vying for our attention that it’s easy to put things off or forget about them completely. Your future will be here before you know it. Believe me, I woke up & found myself at 49! How the hell did I get here so quickly?
Your future you will thank you for taking the time today to plan for tomorrow. What do you want to be or do when you grow up?
Do you want to:
Travel the world
Open a restaurant
Pay for your kids to go to college
Live your future life comfortably
If you answer yes to any of these things then you need to come up with a plan now rather than later.
MAKE IT A HABIT
Investing consistently, a bit out of every paycheck, is powerful. There’s the plain and simple fact that you’re building up your wealth, deposit by deposit. And if you put it on autopilot, there’s the whole “out of sight, out of mind” thing.
There’s another reason why the practice of consistent investing has historically been good for investors. And it’s so compelling that it even has a name:
Boring term. But a BFD for your bottom line.
Dollar-cost averaging is investing a consistent dollar amount at regular intervals of time, no matter what’s going on in the market. Example: a $100 recurring deposit into your investment account every month.
Why Does It Matter?
Ellevest says investors want returns. And some investors, in an attempt to earn as much in returns as possible, make a grave mistake: attempting to “time the market.” They think they can guess what will happen next, and try to “buy low” and “sell high.”
That means you’re inevitably going to feel it on days when the market goes down. Bummer, yes, but it’s not all dark and gloomy. Here’s why: When the market’s down, that $100 deposit will get you more shares of stock. (That’s why you might hear people say that the markets are “on sale.”)
Say the market was humming along, then plummeted, and then started to come back up.
Here’s what would happen if you were to keep investing consistently the whole time:
And here’s what would happen if you were to keep your money in a bank account while the market was down and then invest what you’d saved once it started to come back up:
In the first example, while your investments did lose value temporarily, it worked out pretty well for you after the market rebounded. In the second example, you missed out.
Back to real life. By using dollar-cost averaging, you take your own emotions (aka an investor’s worst enemy) out of the equation. You get rid of the risky guesswork, make investing a solid habit, and give yourself the opportunity to grow your net worth steadily over time. Pretty compelling reasons to invest regularly, right?
Here’s a compelling reason why “regularly” should start … right now.
Welcome to the sixth in our “Women In Biz All Around WordPress” feature that will run the 1st Sunday of every month. It’s a new series where we spotlight amazing women and the ways in which they have used WordPress to spread their message, sell their products, or provide valuable services.
The hope is to inspire other midlife women to build their online businesses and find what we’re all looking for; financial freedom, a lifestyle they love, and excitement they may have been missing! All of these women are clients of mine who have inspired me over the years and I think they will inspire you as well.
This month I want to introduce you to Doreen McGettigan from DoreenMcGettigan.com. Doreen is an Author, a Writing Coach & a Writing Consultant. If you’ve ever thought about writing & publishing a book then Doreen is someone who you absolutely need to know!
For years, she has been a blogger who has lent a helping hand to other women who dream of becoming an Author. Offering advice & support to anyone who takes the time to listen. These days, though, she’s taken that a step further and by opening her own consulting business she can work with clients one on one giving them useful advice, important tips, and ideas that you may not have even considered!
Just like with anything in life when you put yourself in the hot seat you look for advice from the pros that have come before you and that’s exactly what Doreen is. A consummate professional, an encouraging consultant & also a pretty amazing friend. We’ve been blogging buddies for a long time, meeting at a Blogging Conference years ago, but after winning a contest in 2016 she became a client and has been ever since.
Let’s hear from Doreen:
Tell us a little bit about you
I live just south of Philadelphia, am married to a man I met on Match.com 13 years ago. (Its never too late) Together we have 5 kids and 13 grandkids. I’m a bestselling author, award-winning blogger, speaker and teacher. I help people write, publish and market books. I’m on the board of Family Promise (homeless organization) and I volunteer at the shelter and drive the van.
What made you first decide to build a blog or website? How long have you had your site?
I started my blog 8 years ago to connect with other writers while I was writing my first book.
What is your niche?
Writing/Publishing and Marketing. I also do some influencing, caregiving, travel and family stuff.
Of all of your blog posts or pages on your site which is your favorite?
Any that include my grandchildren.
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
Instagram because it’s so easy and Twitter second because I get most of my clients there and media requests.
Do you find WordPress easy to maneuver or do you avoid the back end like the plague?
I avoid it like the plague. There’s so much I wish I had time to learn.
Is your site a business that makes money or a passion that makes your heart sing?
Both for sure.
If you use your site for business what do you sell or what service do you provide?
I consult on all things writing, publishing and marketing. If you’ve ever said I could write a book, we should talk.
What is one thing you’d like people to know about you?
My motto is to spend more connecting with all types of people and zero time competing.
As a published author and consultant Doreen is giving a huge helping hand up to all of those future-writers out there who want to get advice from someone who’s been there and done that!
We should be used to it by now, every few months Facebook & Instagram find other ways for them to make more money and that has our reach shrinking faster than a $3 shirt from Walmart. They can’t stop a Russian from interfering in our election process but they can sure as hell drop your page likes like a hot potato fresh out of the oven!
Listen, FB knows it, we know it, hell even the kids down the street know it. Even with all of the turmoil, they cause somehow they are still the best marketing game in town. Even with the changes, they are making and there are many it’s still easier and more cost-efficient to run FB ads over any other kind of ad. It just is. There are 2.27 billion (That’s a Billion with a capital ‘B’) and 75% of us log in every single day!
So what are these big changes you ask? Well, let me count the ways…
The desktop FB feed is getting a total overhaul. There will be an algorithms update sometime in the Fall of 2019.
Organic Targeting improves your ability to increase your organic reach on FB pages.
Comments & shares will become more valuable and a heart will be worth more than a like.
Organic reach will depend on relevancy and quality.
The more engagement=the more reach.
On FB mobile feeds you will only allow 3 lines of text & smaller image sizes.
On Instagram, likes and video counts are going away. Lower interactions and the new social proof is catching one’s interest.
Removing low-quality posts, the explorer feature or low-quality hashtags.
Comments will become more important.
So what can you do, the small business owner, that will keep your business in the green & keep you from seeing red when you’re FB or Instagram reach grows smaller and smaller.
Don’t waste money boosting posts.
Have a sales funnel in place.
You have to do seven things:
Acknowledge pain point.
Encourage immediate attention with a great value offer (39% of users will interact with what they see as a good value.
Maker yourself relevant– Build that know & trust factor.
Capture as little information as possible (Name & email).
Nurture your future clients.
Your email list is your most IMPORTANT ASSET!
Close the sale.
Follow through and up with.
So what’s the takeaway from all of this information? You can’t beat it and you should probably join them because let’s face it FB ain’t going away any time soon.
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